Much like a lot of aspects of motherhood, once the newness of the baby stage wore off, I kinda just coasted with the routine of what I carried around when leaving the house with Sailor. At first, I put a lot of thought into what went in her diaper bag. Though in the infant stage, those items are DIRE so you kind of have to. But once she was 12 months or so, I realized the diaper bag was basically just thrown in the trunk and stayed there without ever needing it. It became less of a regular occurrence to change her diaper while we were out (unless we are out for more than an hour or two), and we didn't need burp cloths or anything. Instead, I would throw an extra diaper, wipes, a toy, and a few snacks in my purse and we were good to go. But then a couple months ago (at 16 months or so), another stage came where she was less content to just sit and look around in her stroller, and she would be asking for books or snacks. I realized having the right things with me could drastically make an outing more successful, and I needed to give the "diaper bag" concept a revamp. Enter the toddler backpack.
Some things about the toddler backpack are still the same as the diaper bag. I still carry it (she doesn't) and it contains things like a couple of diapers (but we don't need more than 3 at a time while we used to stuff it full), wipes, and one change of clothes. What's changed is that we bring more snacks, toys, musical instruments, and books. It's not that I'm constantly handing her tons of distractions, but this serves as a bag of go-to goodies that can save a moment when needed. The backpack idea came from a friend who was using the same one in olive for her son and it seemed like the perfect size/type. I LOVE it. It comes in a million color choices, it's affordable and easy to get, and it's a mini size so it's not as big as the diaper bag, but it fits plenty of stuff. Maybe Sailor can even come around to carrying it herself when we're out. ;) Everything we keep in it (give or take) is shown above and linked below.
Honorable mentions: 1. Snack catchers. These are amazing for clean snacking on the go! We bring one cup but a few different snacks in ziplock bags that we can dump into the cup (cereal, crackers, blueberries, dried fruit, etc). 2. Gathre changing mat. It's made of leather so it's easy to wipe clean, and it's nice and thin so it folds up really nice in the bag. 3. Bloomers. They are so perfect as the spare change of clothes because they don't take up as much room as pants but definitely do the job if needed. Plus they are adorable. 4. Sunscreen stick. As important as sunscreen is, the nontoxic kid friendly ones are quite hard to apply/blend. I love this one because it applies very well with zero mess. Now I just need to find a powder sunscreen for her head. Does this exist? 5. Lollacups. These are the only straw cups we like after trying so many different ones, so we bought 6 and only use those. 6. Fake makeup. OK, maybe this one is controversial for a little toddler. I just want to say that I'm not trying to "teach" her about makeup this early on and I am certainly not endorsing kids wearing makeup at a young age or anything dramatic, but let's face it: they pick up on what they see Mom do and want to do it themselves. She LOVES playing with my makeup when she's hanging out with me while I apply it (which is every time I apply it) and I figure the fake stuff that looks real is a game changer for keeping her entertained without making a mess.
Backpack / Changing mat / Bandana / State bird pin (gold pin is my grandmother's with her initials engraved on it) / Wipebox / Bloomers / Moccasins / Knit doll / Diapers / Wooden toy car / Top / Sunscreen stick / Balm / Sunglasses / Hello Sacred Life book / The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck book / Maraca / Wooden bear / Fake makeup / Cymbals / Snack cup / Holographic case / Straw cup
Photography by Ashley Burns